The Missouri House gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would ban most abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old.
Supporters of the proposal from Republican Representative Donna Lichtenegger of southeast Missouri’s Jackson claim there’s scientific evidence a fetus can feel pain at 22 weeks and say changing public opinion supports a 22 week abortion ban.
The 22 week ban squares with the bill’s 20 week restriction because Missouri, like most states, starts counting pregnancy two weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period.
The measure approved by the House prohibits abortions after 20 weeks unless a woman’s life is at risk or if there’s danger of substantial and irreversible harm to a bodily function.
Opponents of the bill say if there’s an issue with the development of a fetus, It’s more humane to let the fetus be aborted peacefully instead of being born into a short life of pain. They also claim the measure is unconstitutional.
The U.S. Senate voted down a federal 20 week limit on abortion earlier this year. The measure failed in the tightly contested upper chamber after it sailed through U.S. House on party lines in October.
The Missouri House vote of 117-31 could indicate some the chamber’s 47 Democrats joined the Republican supermajority in backing the legislation.
The abortion bill is now in the Missouri Senate for consideration.